Speaking in Pittsburgh, Pa., on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University, Obama explained that the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought on borrowed money.
“We had put two wars on a credit card, taking a surplus and turned it into a deficit,” Obama said. “All of it culminated in the worst financial crisis we’ve seen in our lifetimes.”
Later in the speech, Obama explained that he would use the borrowed money for both deficit reduction and infrastructure improvements.
“My vision says, we ended the war in Iraq as I promised, and we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan,” Obama said. “So let’s take half of that money we’re saving on war and use it to pay down the deficit. Let’s take the other half and do some nation building here at home. Let’s put some Americans back to work rebuilding our bridges and our schools. Let’s build broadband lines and wireless networks and high-speed rail.”
The federal deficit is currently $1.3 trillion.
The total projected cost for both Iraq and Afghanistan for 2012 is $131.7 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Since 2001, Congress has appropriated $1.283 trillion for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the CRS reported. CRS estimates that Iraq got about about $806 billion, or 63 percent, while Afghanistan has gotten $444 billion.